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Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

  • Meet the Maker: Loree Sandler of Let Them Eat Candles

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Loree Sandler of Let Them Eat Candles. Loree Sandler invented something even better than birthday cake–edible candles. After testing hundreds of prototypes, she finally came up with the winning chocolate design. Her favorite part of building a business? All of it. Loree has a hand in every aspect–from cutting wicks to tempering chocolate (she even labels and ships out each box). 


    Tell us more about your design inspiration.
    I’m inspired by fine craftsmanship and simplicity–for instance Shaker tools and furniture, and Georg Jensen jewelry. Paradoxically, I’m drawn to “outsider” artists who create obsessively layered work. I’m inspired by nature, by clever use of materials, by innovators (I’m heartbroken by the recent death of architect Zaha Hadid). Also, I love things that are unexpectedly graphic or quirk–I collect painted game boards and hangers.

    What other things do you love to make?
    I’ve dabbled with ceramics, hot glass beads, and letterpress. I love to bake and knit.

    Edible Candles

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    The cliché: ‘It’s not personal, it’s business,’ is entirely false for me. Every last detail from concept to creation is my work: cutting wicks, tempering chocolate, labeling boxes, and shipping product. Each decision is mine, successes and mistakes alike. How is this not personal? Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Britta Cox of Aquis

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Britta Cox of Aquis. Britta leaned on her experience in fitness apparel and performance fabric to create a unique material that changes the way you dry your hair. Her product, Aquis, absorbs moisture without getting water-logged. 

    Meet the Maker of Aquis

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.

    I think I’m more of a creative thinker than an artist. I’m ever curious and observant and find inspiration from making connections in the world. I get pleasure from being resourceful and finding solutions. I grew up on a ranch where you learned how to figure things out, to use your hands, fix things, make things and to be observant. At a young age I interacted a lot with animals which instills instincts in you that can be used in many aspects throughout your life.

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    You need competent and committed people to help you grow the business. Identify your core strengths and also your blind spots and then seek the right people, people and attitudes that will supplement your capabilities. Give them the canvas and the inspiration to deliver their best. Focus on executing what delivers real value rather than what feels good to you and create narrative in the process. For us entrepreneurs it is easy to get off track. We start a business because we are passionate about something, but you must start with your end goal and work backwards.

    Meet the Maker - Aquis Towel

    What three personality  traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    Strong work ethic; Innate desire to be of high integrity; Level headed and able to juggle many things even under challenging conditions. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Kat Nouri of Stasher

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Kat Nouri of Stasher. Frustrated with single-use plastic baggies, Kat decided to create an eco-friendly alternative—and now those one-use bags are a thing of the past.

    Meet the Maker Stasher

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    I wanted to be a nurse, an artist, a farmer, an attorney–some for a minute, some for months. I changed my mind several times as I was growing up. But what I remember the most, was that my Mom was super passionate about her pursuit. She could never stop working because her work was her passion. As a result, her work was very much a part of who she was, and she did it whole hardheartedly. My Mom is a PHD in nutrition, with a spiritual upbringing. That became a part of our DNA. When I was a bit older I realized how lucky my Mom was that she was passionate about her work. If you are going to spend a good portion of your life at work, well you better love it or it's just not sustainable. I tried to follow that path and always encourage my kids to be true to themselves, and they will automatically be successful by knowing and feeling that their time is well spent on where they want to be.

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    I step away. I am a huge advocate of work/life balance. That is hard as I actually obsessively love what I do. I have to make myself not look at emails, Instagram, snapchat, to the point that I exhaust myself. But I am successful at shutting down, as I have three kids and a husband who always keeps me in check for our family balance. I love to play hard, as much as I like to work hard. When I do get away I have a lot of fun enjoying local food and culture. We live in Oakland, one of the most inspirational places in the country. The food, and the diversity in culture is amazing. I guess you could say, I can kick my creative block by just walking around the lake, and stopping at exceptional local eats with friends. There is abundant art from super cool Independent artists, music, and the weather is amazing most of the year.

    Meet the Maker of Stasher
    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Graham Wasilition of Chateau Spill


    Graham Wasilition is an entrepreneur to the bone. With his engineering background, the Austin, Texas native co-founded a liquor distillery company then co-founded Château Spill, the red wine, grass, blood, dirt and every-other-kind-of-stain remover. He continues to run them both. I catch up with him at the Las Vegas Market trade show where he was exhibiting Château Spill with our Wholesale team.

    Graham discusses the balance it takes to run not only one company but two, the exhilaration he experiences being on the road meeting customers, the daily challenges of running a business, and the exciting future he sees for Château Spill.


    Like what you hear? Listen to the rest of the Meet the Maker Podcast series here then rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes

  • How to Raise an Entrepreneur: 3 Makers Share Their Stories

    With the era of working for a single company for 40 years—and then receiving a pension when you retire— generally behind us, the word “entrepreneur” has started commonly referring to the many who start small businesses, become consultants or freelancer.

    It inevitably raises the question, “What makes an entrepreneur? Is it nature, nurture, or both? Can parents raise their children to be entrepreneurs?”

    As the father of two teenage children—and at the start of a new school year—I have an interest. What will my kids’ future look like? What will make them the happiest when they embark on a 50+ year work career?

    In my lifetime I’ve known a number of entrepreneurial folks, but there wasn’t anyone around them to encourage it—or, worse yet, people around actively discouraged their entrepreneurial thinking.

    Colleges and universities now have educational tracks to try to teach it. National organizations—like Kauffman and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship http://www.nfte.com—address how to foster young entrepreneurs.

    The Grommet recently launched three products developed by the under 18 set (you can find more of them in our Underrepresented Entrepreneurs category). We wanted to know, what did these kids’ parents do to help them—and what did the children find most helpful as they became entrepreneurs?

    Kid Entreprenuers


    Teenager Robin Sydney and her mom, Marian Heymsfield, recently launched their Adult Coloring Posters coloring poster set on The Grommet. Robin and Marian color together to take a break from electronics and relax at the end of the day. They created detailed posters to encourage more people to get creative and unwind.

    Mom Marian says, “Inspiring confidence is the most important. That and the understanding that what you do in creating items is important and helpful to both the consumer and the Retailer. That your role is very important to everyone’s success.”

    “My mom always inspired me to be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do,” says daughter Robin. “When it came to creativity, I always had art projects, did coloring contests, and had craft kits all over my room. I loved it. We didn’t really watch TV and the arts was my true outlet.

    “Robin continues, “My mom made sure to give confidence to my sister and I, so we would know that we could do anything we dreamed of—no matter the challenge. When we started our company, through her inspiration to me, I felt like I could do anything. I then instilled the same confidence she had placed in me in her and she realized that she, too, could do anything. My mom’s creativity sprouted. There are so many times my mom says, ‘I can't believe what we are doing together.’ It is so cool!”

    “Honestly, I think in our situation my daughter was the parent in the teaching role and I was the child learning from her!” says Marian.

    “I love working with my mom. I trust her completely. I am the dreamer and she is the realist. I say, ‘We should do this...’ and she is like, ‘Yeah, but…’ Together, it is perfection. Each of us comes up with ideas and together we work to make it feel perfect for both of us. We represent both the mom and the kid when approaching products. I think it makes it perfect for all ages and generations.” Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Tara Petrilli of Susquehanna Glass Co.

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better. Today, we're catching up with Tara Petrill of Susquehanna Glass Co. Tara is part of this third-generation operation that has a 100+ year history of making etched glass in the USA. Susquehanna believes glass can have personal meaning and Tara is sharing a little more about her experience being a part of this long lasting company. 

    Meet the Maker

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.
    We're constantly developing new designs so, keeping a pulse on what’s trending on sites like Pinterest is a good starting point. Paying attention to advertising campaigns is also a good source of inspiration. Sometimes ideas simply pop into my head in the middle of the night.

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    I step away for a while or sleep on it. Approaching a block with a clear, fresh mind generally does the trick.


    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A veterinarian. So, not surprisingly, my favorite design theme is anything pet related. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Cynthia Saito of Wrapadoo

    CatalogV1_WrapadooIt started while trying to wrap and dry her young daughter's hair. After too many unsuccessful nightly routines and plenty of conversations other mothers about their haircare experiences, Cynthia Saito noticed there were a lot of hair products on the market that dried your hair but that's it. She didn't see a product looking out for moisture balance or, most importantly, maintaining healthy hair. So she created one that not only solved a problem she faced with her daughter but herself and all women with long hair.

    Hear how Cynthia designed her hair wrap, Wrapadoo, and built her business, why American manufacturing was so difficult but so important in bringing it to life, and how The Grommet helped volumize her company.


    Like what you hear? Listen to the rest of the Meet the Maker Podcast series here then rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes

  • Meet the Maker: Kami Darnell of Simple Sarongs

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better. Today, we're catching up with Kami Darnell, the Maker behind Simple Sarongs. Necessity being the mother of invention, it makes sense that a mom came up with Simple Sarongs. Kami got the idea while playing with her children at the pool. She wanted something to throw on over her wet swimsuit that wouldn’t cling, fall off, or add bulk to her beach bag—or her body.

    Simple Sarong Maker

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.

    My design inspiration has really evolved over the past few years, but I think my first strategy was designing to coordinate with as many swimsuit colors as possible.  And since nearly everyone owns a black swimsuit, I wanted an element of black in all the designs.  With my first collection I could only afford to mass produce three designs, thus they were very colorful!  That really stuck, but now I watch fashion trends, and pick the designs that will hopefully appeal to women of all ages.  For example, last year I also saw a lots of crochet lace (in both swim and daywear) and so creating my Boho Chic Lace sarongs was a result of that.  It also was a way for me to do a “neutral” and still be a fun design.

    Any trends on the horizon that might influence new designs? 

    I’m really excited about pom poms this year! Tropical will always be in the mix, so I like to watch trends in designs there, as well as other global influences like Indian wood block printing and Moroccan tile prints.  I’m also thinking about doing an artistic take on the American flag since so many summer beach vacations happen around national holidays.

    Simple Sarong patterns

    How do you get around creative blocks?

    I use Pinterest and Google Images to search thousands of designs in the direction I’m going.  And I keep updating my Pinterest pages with inspirations all year long so I always have loads to pull from. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Maya & Greg Liberman of Shape + Store

    CatalogV1_Shape+StoreMaya Liberman always wanted to run her own business. One day while making cookies with her kids, she thought it would be great to have a container to hold cookie dough and avoid the mess that occurred every time she made them. The idea took hold of her. She enlisted the help of her husband Greg and his experience in sales and marketing to flesh out a business and, more importantly, further products, like the Burger Master.

    Hear how Maya and Greg built the business of Shape + Store, find new uses for the product every day, continue to overcome challenges in finding retail placement, and persevere through doubt to create a tool that can help any kitchen, including their own.



    Like what you hear? Listen to the rest of the Meet the Maker Podcast series here then rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes

  • Straight from the Maker Trenches: Most Surprising Part Of Starting A Business

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs. If you've ever wondered what it's really like to start a company, you're in luck–our Makers are happy to share an inside look. Most of our Makers were everyday folks with a great idea—that became a business. Get a peek into the world of eight entrepreneurs about the challenges, rewards, and always-unpredictable path of building a company. We're constantly inspired by the business innovations and achievements of our Makers and thought you'd also enjoy hearing their honest answers.

    We couldn't pass up the opportunity to reach out to a few of them and get their answers to our burning question:

    What's the most surprising part of starting a business?

    Click each image or business name to learn more about them.

    How To Start A Company - Clear My Head

    "Everything! I didn't understand at first what building a brand was, I just wanted to sell some jars of some great stuff that really helped me and my clients. However, once I 'got' it, I was amazed at how detail oriented you must be on everything. It's exciting and overwhelming at the same time."  –Brenda Stansfield of Clear My Head 

    Maker Walton Wood Farm - How To Start A Company

    "I thought I would run out of ideas, but they just keep coming."  –Leslie Scott of Walton Wood Farm

    Modern Fuel - How To Start A Company

    "That the possibilities are endless. No matter what you are making you have no idea of the scale and opportunities it will bring along until you are in the thick of it." –Andrew Sanderson of Modern Fuel Continue Reading

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  • As featured in:

  • Today Show
  • Real Simple
  • The New York Times
  • Fortune
  • Inc Magazine